Letter: Alaska Natives selling off their heritage
"Why are my Native people selling their allotments? Only for a pile of cash they’re going to blow in a month? Your allotments are the only things you have to offer your children and grandchildren. It’s the only thing you can pass on. Well more than 10 have been sold in my area, and I have heard of more than 42 in the Yukon Flats. Did you know that Native allotments have not been determined, by the U.S. or state courts, to be “Indian country”? These lands you’re selling off are our last hope for an argument to the state and federal governments that there is Indian country in Alaska. It’s our last true hope for Alaska Native sovereignty, and you’re selling it!

While a sport hunter sets up a lodge and takes all our wildlife and hogs all surrounding village lands, I hope you have fun at bingo, because your entire village will be paying for it!

Also, the reason the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t give us problems for traveling over refuge lands is because we have Native allotments all over refuge land. When they’re all sold to the agency, they’re going to get stricter with us. They might not even allow us on refuge lands anymore.

I know you’re struggling. We all are. If you want money so badly, than get a job, go to school. That land doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to your grandchildren."

Get the Story:
Matt Gilbert: Selling off Indian country (The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 5/27)